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Govind Armstrong on StarChefs

CHEF GOVIND ARMSTRONG
TABLE 8
7661 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
323-782-8258

Biography »

Interview:
Antoinette Bruno: Why did you begin cooking? What was your inspiration?
Govind Armstrong: My mom was very interested in cooking. She read Julia Child’s cookbooks and the Galloping Gourmet. I took over the kitchen in my home when I was only 11 or 12 years old.

AB: Who are your biggest culinary influences?
GA: Pedro Subijana, Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter, Elena Arzak. I spent a couple of weeks in Spain helping Arzak prep dishes from start to finish and work on recipes in his test kitchen.

AB: What are your favorite ingredients to use in the kitchen?
GA: Sun chokes, flatiron steaks, shoulders, duck and fresh fruit.

AB: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool? Why?
GA: My Cryovac® vacuum sealer. I marinate fish in the Cryovac® with olive oil for about 2 ½ hours and then boil the fish for five minutes.

AB: Where do you like to go for culinary travel? Why?
GA: Italy and San Sebastian, Spain. Chefs in Spain are five to ten steps ahead of everyone else in the culinary world. Everyone else has just recently started to take notice, but they’ve been doing it for many years.

AB: What type of person would you want to hire as a line chef in your restaurant?
GA: I like to make sure that this is something they want to do for the rest of their lives.

AB: What is your advice to culinary students?
GA: Always keep up on your reading and traveling.

AB: What are your favorite culinary books? Why?
GA: Chez Panisse Cooking by Alice Waters. This book keeps true to the whole California cuisine movement. Waters discusses keeping a totally organic kitchen, which is something that I would like to have one day. On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee opened my mind to a completely different level of how I understand food. It has more of a scientific edge.

AB: Where do you see yourself in five years?
GA: Opening up other restaurants, possibly overseas. I’d like to open up Tables 9 through 15.


 

GOVIND ARMSTRONG
Table 8 | Los Angeles, CA

With his distinctive good looks, charming smile, and long dreadlocks tied behind his back, Table 8’s Chef Govind Armstrong has a refreshing, easygoing style. At age 13, while most of his friends were outside surfing, Armstrong was inside working with celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck. Today, Armstrong is on the rise to culinary fame, making a name for himself as a driven chef who insists on fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared without excessive sauces or complicated fusion.


Poached Tomato with Tuna Confit and Salsa Verde

Chef Govind Armstrong of Table 8 – Los Angeles, CA
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients:

    Tuna confit
  • 8 ounce Albacore loin
  • 2 cups virgin olive oil
  • teaspoon fennel seed
  • teaspoon ground peppercorn
  • Splash of sherry vinegar
  • 1 pinch chili flakes


  • Bottarga aioli
  • garlic clove
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tablespoons shaved bottarga
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • cup grape seed oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Poached tomatoes
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, blanched, peeled and seeded


  • Salsa verde
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 anchovy filet
  • 1 clove garlic
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon pepper
  • bunch parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs marjoram leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Garnish
  • Celery, thinly sliced
  • Herbed breadcrumbs
  • Parsley
Method:

For the tuna confit:
Place the tuna, olive oil, fennel seeds, peppercorn, sherry vinegar, and chili flakes in a large saucepan on a low flame. Cook until tuna flakes off with a fork, about 2 hours. Remove tuna from the heat and allow it to cool in the oil. Once cooled, place tuna on a plate and set aside. Reserve the seasoned oil in pan.

For the bottarga aioli:
In a mortar and pestle, add garlic, egg yolk, bottarga, lemon juice, and mustard. Grind into a smooth paste. Combine the grape seed and olive oils and begin to slowly drizzle into the mixture. Add a few drops of water if the aioli begins to get too thick.

Season with salt and pepper.

For the poached tomatoes:
Cut the peeled tomatoes in half and place in saucepan with the reserved oil of the tuna. Place tomatoes on a low flame and poach for 1 hour. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove tomatoes from oil and allow to cool on a separate dish.

For salsa verde:
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic clove, anchovy filet, lemon zest, salt and pepper into a smooth paste. In a separate bowl, mix all the herbs together. Once mixed, gradually add the herbs to the mortar and grind gently. Pour a stream of olive oil slowly into the mortar and grind with pestle until all the herbs are incorporated and the sauce is emulsified.

To serve, flake the tuna with a fork into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and 3 tablespoons of the aioli, thinly sliced celery and parsley. Place tuna in the center of plate and place the poached tomato on top. Drizzle the salsa verde around the plate and over the tomatoes. Garnish with a handful of herbed breadcrumbs.


 Published: Feb 2004

  

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